May 20, 2022

Idaho Steelhead Fishing Report

Steelhead Fishing Update – Our guides continue to find fish scattered throughout the Clearwater River system. We have seen days of 8 fish landed, with a few that wiggle loose, and days that are tougher with a few fish being put into the net. One thing we continue to see is the quality of fish being caught. Big hard fighting fish are the norm this season. We still have a good 6 weeks left in the season, with a possibility of adding a couple more weeks in March.

Snake River – Travis, Shane, and Jeff have all ventured to the Snake River this month and have found success in fishing for Steelhead and Sturgeon. Each day they were the only fishing boat on that section. Steelhead catch rates averaged about 5 fish to the boat. This section can be very hit and miss this time of year as fish come and go, but when its on, its on! During our slower steelhead days we always carry Sturgeon gear to keep things interesting. Shane landed 4 Sturgeon just a few days ago in-between landed 3 Steelhead. Remember, the Snake is a 2 Steelhead limit on IDAHO tags.
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Clearwater River Fishing Report

Steelhead – We still have a couple months left for Clearwater, Snake, and Grande Ronde steelhead. We are currently taking a short break as air temps are forecasted to reach single digits. Once we warm back up we will be back at it. We have been finding fish scattered throughout the Clearwater River system and continue to catch nice big fish. As a reminder the Clearwater limit will stay at 1 fish after Jan 1, the Snake will bump up to 2 fish on Idaho tags, and the Grande Ronde will remain at 1 fish. January has been some of our best catching the past few seasons.
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Encouraging News for the Upcoming Seasons – Every year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) analyzes various ocean conditions to develop “stoplight” tables that can be used to forecast adult salmon returns. They compare all the years of sampling data to arrive at rank scores for each ocean ecosystem indicator. Then they color-code each indicator based on its score to reflect ocean conditions for salmon growth and survival (green = good; yellow = fair; red = poor). The past 7 years (2014-2020) have been some of the worst ranking ocean conditions we have seen, however 2021 has ranked as one of the best years since 1998. As a matter of fact 2021 is the 2nd best ranking in 23 years. (On the attached chart, the lower the ranking the better the conditions. Ranking of 0 would be a perfect ocean)

Here are some facts from prior years:1999 ranked a 7.0 – in 2001 the Snake River basin returned its largest Spring Chinook run ever recorded.2008 ranked a 3.2 (the best ever in 23 years) – in 2009 we saw one of the largest A-run steelhead returns over Lower Granite Dam (over 300,000 fish). To put this in perspective total Steelhead return in 2021 for both A & B runs was only 44,000 fish.2011, 2012, 2013 we saw rankings of 8.1, 6.6, 9.3 respectively and from 2013 – 2015 we saw record returns of fall Chinook. (Close to 1 million each season over Bonneville Dam)We hope that this will be a trend that will continue into the future and we can begin to look forward to stronger returns of Salmon & Steelhead.

Some Clearwater pictures from the past couple of weeks:

Clearwater, Snake, Grande Ronde Steelhead Update

Clearwater, Snake, Grande Ronde Steelhead Update – After a few weeks of below par catching on the Clearwater River, we have seen an uptick of catching this past week. Saturday our Clearwater boat landed 10 big steelhead. Fishing pressure is much lower than in October and November, which will continue to help. Mild wet weather has helped keep the river at a good flow making fishing easier.

The Snake River tends to be hit and miss this time of year as fish continue to push through destined for the Grande Ronde, Salmon, and upper Snake. With very low traffic after November the Snake is always a great option when it comes to picking a river. One bit of good news we can share to you is that the Snake River limit on Idaho tags will increase from 1 steelhead to 2 steelhead starting January 1st.

The Grande Ronde fished well on our last trip out last week, our group of two hooked 8 landed 6 nice fish. They encountered no other anglers on the entire trip and saw herds of Elk and Mule Deer around almost every bend. Don’t forget we also offer a cast & blast option for this trip for $50 extra. There were a decent amount of shooting opportunities on our last trip.
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Steelhead Fishing Report

Clearwater River – The Clearwater River has been tough fishing the past few weeks. We have been idle for the past couple of days as we let the river calm down after a couple of rainy days. Post blow-out can be some of the best fishing of the year. We are looking for 1 to 3 anglers to join a single angler tomorrow November 16th and Sunday November 21st.

We have been seeing some excellent quality fish this season with 3 caught between 40″ and 41″
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Grande Ronde River – It is that time of the year again to start offering floats down the scenic Grande Ronde River. On this trip we often encounter very few fisherman and a lot of wildlife. Our guests have seen herds of trophy Elk, Deer, and Big Horn Sheep. A very relaxing trip in a great atmosphere.

From now until the end of January we are able to offer cast and blast trips for Steelhead and waterfowl. When you book your trip online select that you would like to add this to your trip or let us know when booking over the phone or email. Cost is $50 extra.
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Idaho Steelhead Fishing Report

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Steelhead Fishing Report:

Clearwater River – The Clearwater fished tough this past month. With cold, low water the fish went into their “winter” mode. When this happens a majority of the fish move into the warmer waters of the North Fork, push back down into the Lower Granite Pool, or hold in the slow deep holes. It becomes very hard to coerce them into biting. Despite the difficult bite we still managed to have a few good trips with nice fish caught. As the temperatures rise this week we expect the bite to turn back on. The “post-cold” bite is always epic and you don’t want to miss it.

Snake River – The Snake fished well up until Idaho Power resumed their water fluctuations at Hells Canyon Dam. When this starts back up each fall/winter it tells the steelhead to start moving. The bite was tough for the first few days after this cycle, but eventually those fish go back on the bite and it also brings new fish into the mix.

Grande Ronde – The couple of Ronde trips we ran were a bust as the river was icy. There are fish to be caught but the conditions were poor. This past week the ice has cleared and water temps have increased which should create a good bite. Our cast & blast trip is still offered until the waterfowl season closes January 26th.

We are looking for 1 to 3 anglers to join a single angler on December 28th for Clearwater River Steelhead. Contact Travis to book 208-790-4113

Here are some pictures from the past week on the Clearwater:

Grande Ronde Steelhead Fishing Report

We have been slammed with full trips in our power boats we haven’t had a chance to sneak away to test the waters of the Grande Ronde yet. Water flows and temps are good all pointing to prime fishing conditions. Fishing reports from the upper river are showing catch rates picking up above Bogans Oasis. We offer waterfowl cast and blast on this trip for $50 extra. Trophy elk, mule deer, and big horn sheep are all common sights on this trip. We will begin running this trip now till March.

Snake River Steelhead – Cast & Blast on the Grande Ronde

Steelhead – Yesterday our Snake River boat hooked 15 steelhead before noon, landing 8. On Saturday our Grande Ronde River boat hooked 12 Steelhead, landing 10. Fishing continues to be very good with favorable weather and river conditions. Fishing should continue to stay excellent for the rest of the month. We are now offering Cast & Blast on our Grande Ronde trips for Geese and Ducks. Limit is 4 Geese and 7 Ducks per hunter.

Turkey / Steelhead Package – Our last turkey hunt was a slam dunk. A limit of 4 birds were shot first thing in the morning of the hunt. This package is combined with one day of steelhead fishing on either the Grande Ronde or Snake River and one day of turkey hunting at our partner lodge in Anatone, WA. Limit is 2 turkey per hunter either sex. Turkey season closes on Dec 31st.

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Snake River Steelhead Derby

Save the date November 30th, Heller Bar’s 1st annual Hells Canyon Steelhead Roundup. The 3 river tango on the Snake, Salmon and Grande Ronde rivers. A catch and release tournament decided by total inches with prizes awarded in these categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd male 1st, 2nd, 3rd female 1st, 2nd, 3rd kids 14 and under Biggest steelhead and biggest sucker. We have various guided trips all over the PNW, fishing gear, bucket raffles, as well as a shotgun and muzzle-loader. Heller bar is excellent fishing right now! We have guided boats available for this tournament sign up here *free BBQ included* Heller Bar Steelhead Tournament Sign -Up (https://form.jotform.com/93144275491157)

Reel Time Fishing is now offering Steelhead / Turkey combo trips. This is a package including one day of Steelhead fishing and one day of Turkey hunting on private land in Washington, also includes 2 nights of lodging in Anatone, WA. Pricing: Steelhead Fishing Trip: $250 per angler Turkey Hunt: $350 per hunter Lodging: $250 per night Meal-Add on: $35 per person / day.

Snake & Grande Ronde Steelhead Fishing Report

Snake River Fishing Report: The Snake River continues to fish incredibly well. We are averaging 8 to 10 fish a day. Saturday 26 steelhead were landed between 3 boats. The fish we are catching have been larger than average for the Snake. Side drifting has been producing the best. At lunch we have been landing 1 to 2 sturgeon averaging 7′ to 8′ including one day with a 7’2″ and 7’7″ double. There are plenty of fish around to have great successful trips!

Grande Ronde River Fishing Report: The Grande Ronde has been nothing short of epic. In two trips our boat has hooked 38 steelhead! In those two trips we have only encountered 1 other angler. Talk about a secluded fishing experience! Water conditions are absolutely perfect right now. This small river is an absolute blast to float and catch rocket hot steelhead. Not only are we catching great numbers but we are also catching bigger than normal fish for this system. Generally fish on the Ronde average 6 pounds, we are seeing an average of 8 pounders with a nice 12 pound hatchery fish caught Sunday. This is an extremely limited trip, don’t wait to book.

Grande Ronde Steelhead Fishing

We are now offering float trips on the Grande Ronde for steelhead! The Grande Ronde offers some spectacular steelhead water that is conducive to many types of fishing techniques. Drifting, trolling, bobber dogging and bobber & jig all produce very well. Our guides Travis and Jeff floated Friday with success. This trip is very scenic and relaxing with very little competition. We are taking bookings now for up to groups of 2. Seats and days are extremely limited.